Sunanda Pushkar on Wednesday dismissed media reports which said she is acting as a proxy for Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor in the Kochi IPL franchise.
"Why you people can't accept that I am a businesswoman. I wanted to associate with IPL and I had tried with Kolkata Knight Riders earlier. I am rendering services for Kochi franchise and have advised them in getting IPL. I am also advising them on marketing and branding and hence I am getting sweat equity. It is only on paper now. I have not yet got it," she was quoted as saying by PTI.
She also came out strongly in support of Tharoor, who has come under fire from several quarters, following his spat with IPL commissioner Lalit Modi over the Kochi team.
"Shashi is a kind and honest person. He is a great and principled guy," she said.
Meanwhile, Sunanda's father said she has faced many ordeals in her life and pleaded that she be left alone.
"Sunanda has gone through many ordeals and faced a troubled life. She should be left alone", her father Lt Col (Retd) Pushkar Nath Dass told PTI.
The 48-year-old Sunanda, who has been linked to Tharoor, has been in the news after it emerged that she has been given a free equity of around 19 per cent, valued at Rs 70 crore in Rendezvous Sports World, which heads the consortium that owns the IPL Kochi team.
Tharoor is reportedly planning to marry Sunanda, a Kashmiri, after divorcing his second wife, who is a Canadian.
"I plead for her privacy. Please leave her alone. We have finally got her settled after a great effort. We do not want any more troubles for her.
"Please understand the agony of a father. My daughter has suffered a lot in the past. I don't want to remember all that. I want her life to be a happy one devoid of troubles", Dass said, adding "It is wrong on the part of the media to forcibly chase for statements."
Sunanda, who graduated in 1987 from Women College Srinagar and later earned a hotel management diploma, had migrated along with her family from their ancestral village Bommai in the Kashmir valley after their house was set afire by militants in 1990.
She was married to a Sanjay Raina, a Kashmiri who worked in a hotel in New Delhi, her relatives said, adding that she later divorced him.
Later she left to Dubai where she married fire fighting equipment dealer and event manager Sujit Menon of Kerala, they said. He later died in a road mishap in Delhi. She has a 15-year-old son, the relatives said.